Saturday, June 5, 2010

Vegan diet vital to reduce impact on environment

A recently published UN report reveals the destruction on the environment that an animal-loaded diet has. Words in italic are taken directly from the report.

Agriculture and food consumption are identified as one of the most important drivers of environmental pressures, especially habitat change, climate change, water use and toxic emissions.
Hence, what w
e eat has a great impact on the environment. Are we eating correctly?

Particularly impact based studies further highlight the relative importance of animal products, for which indirectly a large proportion of the world’s crops have to be produced, with e.g. a high land use as a consequence. The production of agricultural biomass, especially animal products, is and will remain an inefficient transformation process compared to most industrial processes.
Much of the land is wasted because we want to eat animals and the crops grown have to be fed to them.

Food production is the most significant influence on land use and therefore habitat change, water use, overexploitation of fisheries and pollution with nitrogen and phosphorus. In poorer countries, it is also the most important cause of emissions of greenhouse gases (CH4 and N2O). Both emissions and land use depend strongly on diets. Animal products, both meat and dairy, in general require more resources and cause higher emissions than plant-based alternatives.
This states the very clear message - to cut down on emissions and land use, quit meat and dairy.

Agricultural materials, especially animal products, are also a very important material flow in terms of their contribution to a large number of impact categories. Animal products are important because more than half of the world’s crops are used to feed animals, not people.
This is really sad and ironic that we produce so much crops to feed people but they end up fed to animals to produce that small amount of meat for people, or they end up as biofuels. Are the poor people being purposely starved to death so that we can drive our super energy burning cars and eat our hamburgers? This is really against human ethics.

Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth, increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.
Again this is very clear - away from animal products. Go vegan. Earth can't wait. The starving can't wait.

What about fish? Fish swims in the ocean so it's ok? No. Besides emissions, fish is seriously over-depleted due to us eating too much.
Over 70% of aquatic production is used for direct human consumption and the rest is used for fish oil and fishmeal. In summary, food, feed and oil uses are the main causes of aquatic biotic resource extraction.
For biotic resources, overexploitation has led to the collapse of resource stocks especially in the case of fisheries.
Fisheries. Overexploitation of resources is clearly associated with this sector, as well as relatively high emissions from industrial fisheries. This sector certainly deserves attention from an environmental impact point of view.

Click here for the full report (~5mb, pdf)

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